Extreme: Where current Democratic presidential candidates stand on abortion


EDITOR’S NOTE: This post will be updated as new candidates enter and leave the race.

It’s only March of 2019, yet already, the race for president in the 2020 election has begun. Numerous Democrats have announced their candidacy, and for many, the election is turning into a referendum on abortion. While it is estimated that at least 20% of Democrats identify as pro-life, and most Americans favor heavy restrictions on abortion, the party continues to become more and more extreme. Currently, there are 14 Democratic candidates running for president; but where do the individual candidates stand when it comes to what is arguably the nation’s most divisive — and important — issue?

Marianne Williamson
UPDATE: Dropped out on January 1, 2020

Arguably the least well-known candidate, Williamson is an author, activist, and lecturer who was the first to declare her candidacy in January. According to Williamson’s campaign site, she is an ardent supporter of abortion, writing that she is “one-hundred percent pro-choice.” Williamson did not shy away from inflammatory language, either. “In several states, restrictive measures such as the closing of abortion clinics and forced vaginal probes are currently in play,” she said. “Planned Parenthood, a sole source of medical care for millions of women, is under attack in various states in an effort to block the availability of reproductive choice.”

She vowed that, as president, she would fight any restriction placed on abortion whatsoever.

Tulsi Gabbard
UPDATE: Dropped out on March 19, 2020

Tulsi Gabbard is a Hawaiian Democrat who declared her candidacy in January. She’s a combat veteran, the youngest person ever elected to the Hawaiian state legislature, and also the first Hindu to serve in Congress. However, like other Democrats, Gabbard is an ardent abortion supporter. She has a 100% rating from NARAL and voted against a 20-week abortion ban, even though she once claimed to be pro-life.

Amy Klobuchar
UPDATE: Dropped out on March 3rd, 2020

A Senator from Minnesota, Klobuchar is said to be a more moderate candidate for Democrats in the already-crowded field. But when it comes to abortion, she’s not moderate at all. She has received heavy donations from Planned Parenthood, which undoubtedly helped her decision to vote against its defunding. She likewise voted against the Sasse bill on protecting infants born alive after abortion. She holds a 100% rating from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. She also co-sponsored the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would ban states from setting any restrictions on abortion.

John Hickenlooper
UPDATE: Dropped out August 15, 2019

Previously the governor of Colorado, Hickenlooper announced his candidacy in March. While not as outspoken as other candidates on abortion, he opposes pro-life laws, and is a supporter of Planned Parenthood, once saying he could never run on a unity ticket with Republican John Kasich, because Kasich doesn’t support the abortion giant. He also opposed the pro-life Title X rule change, and refused to investigate Planned Parenthood after the baby parts scandal broke.

Jay Inslee
UPDATE: Dropped out on August 21, 2019

Inslee currently serves as governor of Washington and is running mainly on the issue of climate change. He is, however, is less concerned about preborn babies. He has previously supported mandatory insurance coverage for abortion in the state, something which finally became a reality in 2018, and like Hickenlooper in Colorado, refused to investigate Planned Parenthood after the undercover videos exposing potential illegal behavior broke.

Notable quotes:

“Planned Parenthood provides millions of women across the country access to a full range of affordable health care and family planning services. National extremist organizations are engaged in a concerted effort to discredit, and ultimately eliminate, an organization that so many women rely on. Here in Washington state, where we have long fought to protect women’s access to family planning services, Planned Parenthood is on the front lines of women’s health care. I stand with them….” — July 29, 2015

Kirsten Gillibrand
UPDATE: Dropped out on August 28, 2019

Sen. Gillibrand of New York is vocally pro-abortion, with a 100% rating from NARAL. She voted against the recent anti-infanticide bill, and has sworn to always protect abortion, including late-term.

Notable quotes:

  • “Everyone here knows [abortion] is at stake … What is at stake is women’s freedom—our freedom to make our own decisions….” — July 9, 2018
  • “This is literally the biggest civil rights issue, certainly in my lifetime, for women. We are at the brink of not having reproductive freedom in this country, not having the ability to decide when and how many children we’re going to have.” — July 18, 2018
  • “I think this [pro-life changes to Title X] is an issue that should enrage the American public, particularly women, because it’s an attack on them.” — May 18, 2018

Julian Castro
UPDATE: Dropped out on January 2, 2020.

Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, also served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration. Despite being Catholic, Castro supports legal abortion, and opposes bans on late-term abortion.

Notable quotes:

“You can change the direction that this state takes on this issue by not letting them (Republicans) forget 15 months from now when we have an election … We are going to be a strong voice of support for you (senators) and for Planned Parenthood.” — July 11, 2013

Pete Buttigieg
UPDATE: Dropped out on March 1st, 2020

Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, home of the Catholic University of Notre Dame. An Afghanistan War veteran and Rhodes Scholar, he is the first openly gay person to ever run for president as a Democrat. While Buttigieg has not spoken much publicly on abortion, in a Politico profile last year, he remarked that his constituents were concerned about possums in the road, not abortion or Syria — but he does support legalized abortion, and opposes restrictions. When the South Bend City Council approved a rezoning effort that would allow a pregnancy resource center to open near an abortion facility, Buttigieg vetoed it.

Notable quotes:

“I don’t think we need more restrictions right now… I just believe that when a woman is in that situation and when we’re talking about some of those situations covered by that law, extremely difficult, painful, often medically serious situations where life or health of the mother is at stake, the involvement of a male government official like me is not helpful.” — February 14, 2019

Elizabeth Warren
UPDATE: Dropped out on March 5th, 2020

Warren announced her candidacy in February, and her position on abortion is very well known. She has a 100% rating from NARAL, and recently voted against legislation that would require medical care for babies born alive after a botched abortion. She opposes restrictions on abortions, even those that most Americans overwhelmingly support, such as 20-week abortion bans. She has parroted lies about Planned Parenthood in an effort to save the abortion giant’s taxpayer funding.

Notable quotes:

  • “I come to the Senate floor today to ask my Republican colleagues a question. Do you have any idea what year it is? Did you fall down, hit your head, and think you woke up in the 1950s? Or the 1890s? Should we call for a doctor? Because I simply cannot believe that in the year 2015 the United States Senate would be spending its time trying to defund women’s health care centers.” — August 3, 2015
  • “When making policy about women’s bodies, government officials should trust the women whose lives and futures are on the line. Safety and economic security — that’s what Roe v. Wade is still all about. I lived in a world of back alley butchers and wrecked lives. We’re not going back — not now, not ever.” — January 21, 2018

Cory Booker
UPDATE: Dropped out on January 13th, 2020

Cory Booker previously served as the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and is now a senator representing the Garden State. He is also a hardcore abortion advocate, supporting partial-birth abortion, a position so extreme he lied about it in a debate, and opposes safety restrictions. He’s also an outspoken defender of Planned Parenthood, and like other presidential candidates, voted against protecting abortion survivors.

Notable quotes:

  • “You’ve consistently shown that you want to deny women their freedoms and rights to make their own healthcare decisions, even in the most extreme cases, if somebody is raped or a victim of incest. I want to know and understand, why don’t you trust women in those extreme cases, where they are victims of such violence and raped, to make their own decisions? Why do you believe that men like you should tell women what they can do with their bodies?” — October 24, 2014
  • “On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, here’s an alarming fact: 400+ anti-abortion bills passed on the state level since 2010 which means 29 million women live in places hostile to abortion rights. We must be vigilant in protecting a woman’s right to choose.” — January 22, 2019

Kamala Harris
UPDATE: Dropped out on December 3, 2019.

Representing the state of California, Harris has been a rising star within the Democratic Party since being elected to the Senate in 2017. But she also alienated pro-lifers when as CA Attorney General, she refused to investigate Planned Parenthood for the trafficking of baby body parts, instead prosecuting the Center for Medical Progress — an effort that continues under the new AG to this day. Harris has a 100% rating from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and received a congratulatory statement upon her election from the abortion corporation as well. She was one of the co-sponsors of the Women’s Health Protection Act, preventing states from enacting restrictions on abortion, and she voted against a bill preventing infanticide. She also recently made headlines when she questioned judicial nominee Brian Buescher, criticizing his pro-life and religious beliefs.

Notable quotes:

  • “I think it’s up to a woman to make that decision, and I will always stand by that. I think she needs to make that decision with her doctor, with her priest, with her spouse. I would leave that decision up to them.” — February 27, 2019
  • “Cecile [Richards] has shown what it means to be a true fighter for the rights of women. In the face of unprecedented attacks, she has never backed down from a fight and always stood strong for the patients and doctors at Planned Parenthood and women across America. She put inclusive access to reproductive health care at the forefront of the political conversation and has shown it is not only key to women’s well-being, but also to true equality.” — January 30, 2018

Bernie Sanders
UPDATE: Dropped out on April 8th, 2020.

Bernie Sanders is the dark horse candidate from Vermont, who was an Independent and self-professed socialist, and caucused with the Democratic Party. Sanders is a noted supporter of abortion, receiving a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood and NARAL. He refused to say if there was ever a point in which abortion would be immoral, and voted against the recent bill ensuring that survivors of abortion would receive medical care. He supports taxpayer-funded abortion, and voted against banning partial-birth abortion.

Notable quotes:

  • “We are not going back to the days when women had to risk their lives to end an unwanted pregnancy. The decision about abortion must remain a decision for the woman and her doctor to make, not the government.” — November 9, 2018
  • “If men were giving birth to babies, there would not be a lot of discussion regarding the right to choose.” — December 5, 2015
  • “We are not returning to the days of back-room abortions, when countless women died or were maimed. The decision about abortion must remain a decision for the woman, her family and physician to make, not the government. … The right-wing in this country is waging a war against women and, let me be very clear, it is not a war that we are going to allow them to win.” — April 30, 2012

Beto O’Rourke
UPDATE: Dropped out November 1, 2019

The former representative, who lost his election for the Senate to pro-life Ted Cruz, announced his candidacy in March. Unlike his former opponent, Ted Cruz, O’Rourke is an avid supporter of abortion. He was previously endorsed by NARAL, from whom he has a 100% rating, and supports late-term abortion. He also co-sponsored a bill that would have allowed abortion for virtually any reason until birth.

Notable quotes:

  • “So, the question is about abortion and reproductive rights. And my answer to you is that that [third trimester abortion] should be a decision that the woman makes. I trust her.” — March 18, 2019

Andrew Yang
UPDATE: Dropped out February 2, 2020

Unlike many of his fellow candidates, Andrew Yang is not a politician. He’s an entrepreneur, selected in 2012 by the Obama administration as a “Champion for Change,” and then a “Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship” in 2015. While he doesn’t have a policy background to back up his views, his campaign website does state that he approves of legal abortion. Whether he supports any restrictions, or if he — like his fellow Democrats — favors abortion on demand, at any time, without taxpayer funding.

Notable quotes:

  • “The right of many American women to have control over their bodies is being unconstitutionally eroded by legislators with no medical background.” — Campaign statement

Eric Swalwell
UPDATE: Dropped out July 8, 2019

Swalwell is a representative from California, and a career politician who announced his candidacy in April. He is ardently pro-abortion, with a 100% NARAL rating, and was endorsed by the abortion advocacy organization last year. He was a co-sponsor for several extremist abortion bills, including legislation that would overturn the Hyde amendment.

Notable quotes:

  • “With women’s right to make their own health decisions under sustained attack, NARAL’s mission is more important than ever.” — August 2018

    Joe Biden

    A latecomer to the presidential race, Biden announced his candidacy at the end of April. This is his third run for president after spending decades in the Senate and eight years as vice president in the Obama administration. While he seems poised to attract more moderate voters than some of the more left-leaning candidates, Biden is just as pro-abortion as the rest of them are, despite being a practicing Catholic. He has previously held a 100% NARAL rating, and opposes restrictions that most Americans support, such as parental notification laws.

    Notable quotes:

  • “… Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the – the congressman. I – I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor. In my view and the Supreme Court, I’m not going to interfere with that.” — October 2012

    Steve Bullock
    UPDATE: Dropped out December 2nd, 2019

    Montana Governor Steve Bullock is a latecomer to the race, announcing in May that he is running for president as well. Bullock served as the state’s attorney general before his election as governor. He has also chaired the National Governor’s Association since 2018. Bullock is strongly pro-abortion, opposing the Trump administrations Title X rule change, and even vetoing a bill that would have mandated infants who survive abortions receive medical care. He has a 100% rating from NARAL and was endorsed by Planned Parenthood.

    Bill de Blasio
    UPDATE: Dropped out on September 20th, 2019

    The current mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio jumped into the presidential race halfway through May. Under his “leadership,” abortion has advanced to extreme levels, with one out of every three babies aborted, and the majority of babies aborted are either black or Hispanic. Abortion facilities are also inspected less frequently than pizza parlors are, and de Blasio even threatened to ban city employees from using public funds to travel to pro-life states.

    Notable quotes:

  • “New York welcomes you, supports you, and is open to all those seeking safe, legal abortion. If this legislation is signed, in demonstration of New York City’s strong opposition to it, I will ban employees of the City of New York from using public funds on non-essential travel to the state of Oklahoma until further notice.” — May 2016

    Michael Bloomberg
    UPDATE: Dropped out on March 4th, 2020

    The last entrant into the race, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is known for his pro-abortion extremism. Under his leadership, New York City’s abortion rate ballooned to twice the national average, with almost half of all pregnancies ending in abortion. He also has come under fire for telling a pregnant employee to “kill it,” in regards to her baby, and complaining aout the number of his staffers who were either pregnant or parenting.

    Notable quotes:

  • “Reproductive choice is a fundamental human right and we can never take it for granted. On this issue, you’re either with us or against us.” — 2008

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